Briefs filed to continue block on Arkansas abortion laws

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.— The American Civil Liberties Union and others on Monday asked the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to continue a ban temporarily blocking three Arkansas abortion restrictions.

Federal Judge Kristine Baker has issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from enforcing the restrictions while a lawsuit challenging them is pending.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office is appealing Baker’s ruling.

The laws present “insurmountable obstacles” to a woman seeking an abortion, said ACLU attorney Meagan Burrows in a statement.

The laws prohibit the procedure 18 weeks into pregnancy, require that doctors performing abortions be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology, and prohibits doctors from performing an abortion if it’s being sought because the fetus was diagnosed with Down syndrome.

The laws are being challenged by Little Rock Family Planning Services, the state’s only surgical abortion clinic, and Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood only offers medication-induced abortions at its Arkansas facilities. Planned Parenthood in July closed its Fayetteville facility and is looking for a new location, but is still providing medication abortions at its Little Rock center.

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